By Samuel Box
Kutztown, PA – On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the United States narrowly avoided a debt default by passing a resolution allowing spending that will increase the debt ceiling and keep the government running until at least early February. The resolution comes after 16 days of a government shutdown that was caused by Republicans attempting to defund the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) by means of a provision attached to the 2014 Continuing Appropriations Resolution.
This is a legislative victory that President Barack Obama sorely needed. After dealing with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives that has crippled most of the legislation that he has tried to put through in the past four years, Obama finally beat the Republicans at their own game. Happening not long after Obama’s skillful diplomatic maneuvering that helped to begin the process of disarming Syria of chemical weapons, this is more of a domestic win for the president, but an important win nonetheless.
I believe that this shutdown and its resolution may be the final nail in the coffin for the current Republican House. A main criticism of the Obama administration has been its willingness to compromise its own goals in order to work with a House majority whose party platform consisted of little else than appeasing the demands of the fringe-far-right and to oppose Obama in all of his endeavors.
It was Republican stubbornness that forced the government to shut down, and for 16 days, that stubbornness was the subject of both the attention and blame of the entire nation. As reported by the Huffington Post, Congress’s approval rating dropped to an abysmal 5 percent, with 62 percent of those surveyed blaming Republicans for the shutdown.
The government is now back up and running, and 16 days of political stalemate have gained the GOP nothing but the contempt of a nation. The Republican Party must now change its ways from the party of giving voice to the screaming minority that is the radical right to one of more moderate standing that will finally work with the President in progressively moving the country forward.